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Low Temperature Chillers Support ATK Solid Rocket Motor Test

Aggreko : 02 September, 2010  (Application Story)
The joint ATK and NASA test of the Ares five-segment solid rocket motor is being supported by Aggreko with the use of low temperature chilling equipment for cold motor testing
Low Temperature Chillers Support ATK Solid Rocket Motor Test
Aggreko is working with Alliant Techsystems (ATK) to test Development Motor-2 (DM-2), NASA’s second fully-developed Ares five-segment solid Rocket motor. Aggreko’s low temperature chillers were used to execute the DM-2 “cold motor” test – supporting ATK’s objective to meet NASA’s specification to cool the motor to 40°F to measure solid Rocket motor performance at low temperature and verify design requirements of new materials.

The temperature of DM-2 was controlled by the atmospheric conditions within the removable building housing the test motor. To achieve this scope of work in a controlled and repeatable manner, Aggreko process engineers and temperature control experts used specialized temporary utility equipment to cool the structure to target temperatures of 20°F. Aggreko’s engineered solution for the cold motor test consisted of temporary generators to power the system of low temperature chillers; specially designed low temperature air handlers; a customized air conditioning duct system; and a suite of temperature control and electrical distribution equipment.

“This project was unique due to its many special requirements,” said Steven Bukoski, project manager for Aggreko Process Services, a process engineering group within Aggreko. “Aggreko’s specialized, large-capacity portable equipment and skilled technicians were critical factors in successfully achieving freezing temperatures under challenging environmental conditions, such as hot summer temperatures, cooling 1.6 million pounds of propellant, and working with a movable structure.”

Aggreko designed a first-of-its-kind low temperature air handler configuration to manage climate control for the mobile building: three stacks of two air handler units with a custom-made defrost unit. One of the air handlers drew air from inside the building, cooled it to 20°F, then recycled into the building while the remaining unit was on standby or defrost mode, enabling continuous cooling of air. A seventh air handler was installed to provide fresh air and positively pressurize the mobile building to eliminate infiltration of warm, moist air.

“Reliable equipment and working closely with ATK on all critical issues enabled our team to meet NASA’s temperature cooling requirement and support this important milestone for NASA’s space flight program,” said Bukoski.

Prior to the live test, Aggreko detached equipment from the building, and the structure was rolled away. Aggreko continued to cool the Rocket motor section joints with a custom air conditioning duct system up to an hour before the Rocket was fired.
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